[Rushtalk] Happy Death-by-Government Day!
notmyname at thatswaytoomuch.info
Mon Jun 10 02:00:54 MDT 2013
At 08:33 PM 6/9/2013 -0700, Tom Matiska wrote:
>When you say "War of Northern Aggression" I hear
>a toilet flush. Don't say something that stupid
>if you want to be taken seriously.
Thomas DiLorenzo: More on the Myth of Lincoln, Secession and the 'Civil War'
by Anthony Wile
<http://www.thedailybell.com>The Daily Bell
Recently by Anthony Wile:
Celente on the New Renaissance and Big Non-State Trends Changing the World
Introduction: Thomas DiLorenzo is an American
economics professor at Loyola University
Maryland. He is also a senior faculty member of
the Ludwig von Mises Institute and an affiliated
scholar of the League of the South Institute, the
research arm of the League of the South, and the
Abbeville Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in
Economics from Virginia Tech. DiLorenzo has
authored at least ten books, including
Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His
Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2003),
Curse: How Jefferson's Arch Enemy Betrayed the
American Revolution and What It Means for
Americans Today (2009),
Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of
Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present
Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about
Dishonest Abe (2007) and most recently,
Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government
(2012). Thomas DiLorenzo is a frequent columnist
for LewRockwell.com, lectures widely and is a
frequent speaker at Mises Institute events.
Daily Bell: Remind our readers about one of your
central intellectual passions, which is
confronting academic "Lincoln revisionism." Who
was Lincoln really and why have you spent so much
of your career trying to return Lincoln's academic profile to reality?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Lincoln mythology is the
ideological cornerstone of American statism. He
was in reality the most hated of all American
presidents during his lifetime according to an
excellent book by historian Larry Tagg entitled
Unpopular Mr. Lincoln: America's Most Reviled
President. He was so hated in the North that the
New York Times editorialized a wish that he would
be assassinated. This is perfectly
understandable: He illegally suspended Habeas
Corpus and imprisoned tens of thousands of
Northern political critics without due process;
shut down over 300 opposition newspapers;
committed treason by invading the Southern states
(Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution defines
treason as "only levying war upon the states" or
"giving aid and comfort to their enemies," which
of course is exactly what Lincoln did). He
enforced military conscription with the murder of
hundreds of New York City draft protesters in
1863 and with the mass execution of deserters
from his army. He deported a congressional critic
(Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham of
Ohio); confiscated firearms; and issued an arrest
warrant for the Chief Justice when the jurist
issued an opinion that only Congress could
legally suspend Habeas Corpus. He waged an
unnecessary war (all other countries ended
slavery peacefully in that century) that resulted
in the death of as many as 850,000 Americans
according to new research published in the last
two years. Standardizing for today's population,
that would be similar to 8.5 million American deaths in a four-year war.
Lincoln was deified by the Republican Party,
which monopolized the government for half a
century after the war. The Pulitzer prize-winning
novelist Robert Penn Warren wrote in his book,
The Legacy of the Civil War, that all of this
mythology created an ideology of "false virtue"
that was (and is) interpreted by the American
state to "justify" anything it ever did, no
matter how heinous and imperialistic. The truth
about Lincoln and his war "must be forgotten,"
said Warren, if one is to believe in this "false
virtue," which also goes by the slogan of "American exceptionalism."
Lincoln was a nationalist and an imperialist. He
was the political son of Alexander Hamilton who,
as such, advocated a government that would serve
the moneyed elite at the expense of the masses.
Hence his lifelong advocacy of protectionist
tariffs, corporate welfare, and a central bank to
fund it all. This was called "mercantilism" in
the previous centuries, and was the very system
the American colonists fought a revolution over.
Daily Bell: What did you think of the recent
Steven Spielberg movie about Lincoln? Are
defenders of Lincoln getting increasingly desperate?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Yes, the Lincoln cult is
getting desperate. Spielberg hired Doris
Kearns-Goodwin, a confessed plagiarist, as his
advisor on the movie (See my LewRockwell.com
Plagiarist's Contribution to Lincoln Idolatry").
The main theme of the movie is exactly the
opposite of historical truth. The main theme is
that Lincoln used his legendary political skills
to help get the Thirteenth Amendment that ended
slavery through the Congress. But if one reads
the most authoritative biography of Lincoln, by
Harvard's David Donald, one learns that not only
did Lincoln not lift a finger to help the genuine
abolitionists; he literally refused to help them
when they went up to him and asked him for his
help. Lincoln did use his political skills to get
an earlier, proposed Thirteenth Amendment through
the House and Senate. It was called the Corwin
Amendment, and would have prohibited the federal
government from ever interfering with Southern
slavery. Even Doris Kearns-Goodwin writes about
it in her book, Team of Rivals, discussing how
the amendment, named after an Ohio congressman,
was in reality the work of Abraham Lincoln.
Daily Bell: Why should that be so? Is the myth of
Lincoln a central one to the larger and continued
myth of modern US exceptionalism? Who propagates these myths and who benefits?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Yes, the Lincoln myth is the
ideological cornerstone of "American
exceptionalism" and has long been invoked by both
major political parties to "justify" anything and
everything. President Obama quoted and
paraphrased Lincoln in a speech before the United
Nations last September, and in his second
inaugural address, to support his agenda of
waging more aggressive wars in Syria, Iran, and
elsewhere. Specifically, he repeated the "All Men
are Created Equal" line from the Gettysburg
Address to make the case that it is somehow the
duty of Americans to force "freedom" on all men
and women everywhere, all around the globe, at
gunpoint if need be. This is the murderous,
bankrupting, imperialistic game that Lincoln mythology is used to "justify."
Daily Bell: Put Lincoln in context. Why is
continued mythology so important to the current
power structure of the Anglosphere?
Thomas DiLorenzo: The state cannot tell the
people that it is bankrupting them and sending
their sons and daughters to die by the thousands
in aggressive and unconstitutional wars so that
crony capitalism can be imposed at gunpoint in
foreign countries, and so that the
military-industrial complex can continue to rake
in billions. That might risk a revolution. So
instead, they have to use the happy talk of
American virtue and American exceptionalism, the
"god" of democracy," etc. And the average
American, whom the great H.L. Mencken referred to
as part of the "booboisie," believes it.
Daily Bell: Let's try to clear up a few more
myths. Did Lincoln issue greenbacks in defiance
of British "money power"? In other words, was his
war waged as an act of rebellion against European
colonialism? From our point of view, Lincoln was
likely in thrall to the New York banking establishment. How do you see it?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Lincoln spent his entire life
in politics, from 1832 until his dying day, as a
lobbyist for the American banking industry and
the Northern manufacturing corporations that
wanted cheaper credit funded by a government-run
bank. He spent decades making speeches on behalf
of resurrecting the corrupt and destabilizing
Bank of the United States, founded originally by
his political ancestor, Hamilton. No member of
the Whig Party was more in bed with the American
banking establishment than Lincoln was, according
to University of Virginia historian Michael Holt
in his book on the history of the American Whig
party. The Whig agenda, which was always
Lincoln's agenda, was described brilliantly by
Edgar Lee Masters (Clarence Darrow's law partner)
in his book, Lincoln the Man. The agenda was to
champion "that political system which doles
favors to the strong in order to win and keep
their adherence to the government." It advocated
"a people taxed to make profits for enterprises
that cannot stand alone." The Whig Party "had no
platform to announce," Masters wrote, "because
its principles were plunder and nothing else."
Lincoln himself once said that he got ALL of his
political ideas from Henry Clay, the icon and
longtime leader of the Whig Party.
Daily Bell: Let's ask you some tough questions
that will be of interest to our readers and our
critics alike. Charges have been leveled from
some (disreputable) quarters that you are somehow
conspiring historically with a Jesuit faction to
promote historical inaccuracies regarding Lincoln
since you are a professor at Loyola. Could you
please explain these charges more comprehensively
and then use this form to rebut them?
Thomas DiLorenzo: I don't usually answer "when
did you stop beating your wife"-type questions
since they always come from people with I.Q.s in
the single digits. These are people who do not
have the mental capacity to learn real economics,
so they blabber on about crazy conspiracy
theories. The Jesuits at Loyola actually hate me
with a passion since they are, with one or two
exceptions, Marxist ideologues and I am a
libertarian, i.e., the devil. Read my
LewRockwell.com article entitled
from an Academic Looney Bin" if you want to learn
of my contempt for the Jesuits who run Loyola University Maryland.
Daily Bell: Thanks for the insights. Now, on to
another more serious matter, which has to do with
the role of Jefferson Davis as President of the
Southern Secession. Let's preface this by
proposing it has been proposed that both the
Russian Revolution and Germany's rise to power
were apparently funded at least in part by Wall
Street and British "City" money especially via
Swiss banks. Can you comment on this perspective
as it may well have a bearing on Civil War
funding? Is it true, for instance, that many wars
including the Civil War are not exactly what they
seem and that what we call Money Power benefits
by backing both sides and profiting from the conflict itself?
Thomas DiLorenzo: War is always destructive to a
nation's economy regardless of whether it wins or
loses the war. War is the opposite of capitalism.
Capitalism is a system of peaceful,
mutually-advantageous exchanges at market prices
based on the international division of labor. War
destroys the international division of labor and
diverts resources from peaceful, capitalistic
exchange to death and destruction. However, there
are always war profiteers the people who profit
from selling and financing the military. One
doesn't need to invent a conspiracy theory about
this: War profiteering is war profiteering and
has always existed as an essential feature of all wars.
Daily Bell: There are even questions raised about
Napoleon Bonaparte and whether Money Power
utilized the French general's bellicosity for
their own purposes. Can you comment? Is it
possible the US Civil War was also arranged and
funded by those in Europe that had an agenda to
diminish the United States's exceptionalism and vitiate its republicanism?
Thomas DiLorenzo: I prefer not to answer
anonymous questions like this. Who says this, and
what is his or her credibility? Any credentials?
Have they written anything I can read to judge
their thinking ability? Any crank can say any
crazy thing and suggest any weird conspiracy
theory on the Internet. Besides, "American
exceptionalism" did not become a tool of American
imperialism until AFTER the Civil War.
Daily Bell: Money Power is a banking phenomenon
and much of the banking power was located in
Britain during Lincoln's time, as today. New York
banks had extensive relationships with British
banking power. And from what we can tell, Lincoln
derived an extensive funding and power base from
these same banks. So here is another question
that goes to the heart of this funding issue: Why
did Britain supposedly back the South? Is it
possible that this is a historical ruse? Was the
British banking establishment pro-North even
though the aristocracy was pro-South? Did it suit
British banking interests to perpetuate this confusion?
Thomas DiLorenzo: There is no such thing as
"Britain" that backed or did not back the South.
There were prominent British individuals like
Charles Dickens who sided with the South in their
writings, but there were also those with similar
stature who backed the North. I recommend the
book by Charles Adams entitled
Secession, and Civil War: Views from the United
Kingdom and Europe, 1856-1865. Since the South
continued to trade with England during the war,
there were British banks that financed a lot of
this trade and would therefore have supported the
South for that reason. At the end of the war the
British government was scared to death that
Sherman would take his army across the Atlantic
as an act of revenge for this collaboration.
Daily Bell: Is it possible that the British
banking establishment didn't care which side won
the war, as the US would be irreparably weakened
no matter who triumphed? Were British bankers
expecting this weakening would encompass a loss
of freedom and a rise of governmental
authoritarianism? It certainly did, didn't it?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Since bankers are bankers and
not journalists and writers, there is no way of
knowing their views on this question without a
written record. Anyone who claims to know this
without any such record is simply blowing smoke
and wasting your time. British intellectuals like
Lord Acton understood and wrote about how the
result of the war would be a US government that
would become more tyrannical and imperialistic.
To the extent that some British bankers read such
literature and tended to agree with Lord Acton,
then that would have been their opinion.
Nineteenth-century British bankers were not
omniscient, Wizard-of-Oz orchestrators of world
events any more than you and I are.
Daily Bell: Here is an even tougher question to
answer and a thoroughly speculative one. Is it
possible that Jefferson Davis also had a
relationship to British Money Power? One salient
fact stands out: Davis served as President
Franklin Pierce's war secretary and while Pierce
was an ardent states' rights advocate, it was
also widely reported that he had relations with a
powerful US secret society the Knights of the
Golden Circle. Can you comment on the Knights of
the Golden Circle and what their agenda might
have been? We've written about this issue here:
James DiLorenzo on Abraham Lincoln, U.S.
Authoritarianism and Manipulated History."
Here's a brief description from a book on the
Mysterious and Secret Order of the Knights of the
... "Few people know of the Knights of the Golden
Circle and even fewer know about the purpose for
which it existed. It is probably the greatest
untold story today in the history of the United
States. ... It has been said of them that they
were one of the deadliest, wealthiest, most
secretive and subversive spy and underground
organizations in the history of the world ... The
group was heavy on ritual, most of which was
borrowed from the Masonic Lodge and later from
the Knights of Pythias. Some were also members of
the Rosicrucians." To what end was Jefferson
Davis involved with the Knights? Was he in a
sense set up to fail? Did he willingly participate? Was he a patsy?
Thomas DiLorenzo: I have no idea. How would
anyone know anything about this if it was a
"secret" society, as you say? Jefferson Davis was
a brilliant and highly educated man who spent a
long career in national politics and wrote a
Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. It
is unimaginable that any American politician
since could have performed such an amazingly
insightful piece of genuine scholarship. This is
not the type of man who would have been easily
duped by the local Masonic Lodge.
Daily Bell: Are these fair questions? Jefferson
was President of the Southern Secession but he
proved an ineffective leader and his policies in
many ways sabotaged the South and its quest to
secede. Was his incompetence entirely genuine, in your view?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Davis was not a dictator. He
had a lot of help losing the war, especially from
his generals who insisted on the Napoleonic
battlefield tactics they were taught at West
Point and which had become defunct because of the
advent of more deadly military technology by the
middle of the nineteenth century. One of his
biggest failures was waiting until the last year
of the war to finally do what General Robert E.
Lee had been arguing from the beginning
offering the slaves freedom in return for
fighting with the Confederate Army in defense of their country.
Daily Bell: A final question. It was Davis who
set the war in motion, inexplicably, by declaring
formal hostilities, so why didn't he and his
generals fight a guerrilla war that they would
have been almost certain to win? General Lee
insisted on formal engagements with the North but
had neither the resources nor the men to win a
war of attrition of this sort. Why didn't he
pursue well-known guerilla tactics that would
have produced a victory or at least a stalemate?
Thomas DiLorenzo: No, it was Lincoln who launched
an invasion of the Southern states. Davis's
declarations were just words. Giving guerilla
fighters like John Singleton Mosby and Nathan
Bedford Forrest more resources may well have won
the war for the South, but Mosby was kicked out
of VMI and Forrest was almost totally uneducated
formally. The Confederate military establishment
was controlled by West Point graduates who knew
little or nothing about guerilla warfare. When
asked after the war who his most effective
subordinate was, Lee said it was a man named Forrest.
Daily Bell: Certainly the arc of Davis's career
after the war does little to contradict the
hypothesis that there was more to Davis's role
than history records. He never served a long jail
sentence, visited England later in life and was
supported by a wealthy widow, Sarah Anne Ellis
Dorsey, who was a primary member and literary
representative of Southern aristocracy with its
many European connections. This would also seem
to show that Davis had deep connections to the
British power structure. Is all this merely frivolous supposition?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Yes.
Daily Bell: Okay, let's turn to your recent book,
False Virtue: The Myths that Transformed America
From A Republic to an Empire. Can you explain
what this is about to our readers and why you wrote it?
Thomas DiLorenzo: That's something that I'm still
working on. I plan on putting into book form the
story of how the Lincoln myth has been used for
the past 150 years or so to prop up American foreign policy imperialism.
Daily Bell: What are you working on now, if anything?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Besides this, I'm working on a
book on the politics and economics of war.
Daily Bell: Do you still believe that secession
is in the offing for several or more of "these
united States"? Will it come without bloodshed?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Thank God for the former serfs
of the Soviet empire that they only had a
totalitarian communist like Gorbachev to deal
with and not a Lincoln. Peaceful secession is the
only way out of the new slavery for the average
American, and it will only happen if we have a
president who is more like Gorbachev than
Lincoln. That is one more reason why the Lincoln myth needs to be destroyed.
Daily Bell: Are hostilities deepening between Fedgov and US states?
Thomas DiLorenzo: The booboisie in America for
the time being seems happy to endure whatever
additional enslavements the federal government
proposes for them. That may change, however, when
there is hyperinflation and their healthcare
system is destroyed by Obama's socialized
medicine, or if one of the tiny and relatively
defenseless countries that the US government is
perpetually picking on figures out a way to
retaliate in a big way. That just might cause the
booboisie to finally ask such questions as: "Do
my children really have to be sacrificed and sent
to their deaths so that people in Syria can be
ruled by a different dictator chosen by the CIA?"
Daily Bell: Isn't secession a lawful, constitutional right?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Article 7 of the Constitution
explains that the document was to be ratified by
the "free and independent states," as they are
called in the Declaration of Independence. The
union of the founders was voluntary, and several
states reserved the right to withdraw from the
union in the future if it became destructive of
their rights. Since each state has equal rights
in the union, this became true for all states.
That is why, at the outset of the Civil War, the
overwhelming majority of Northern newspapers
editorialized in favor of peaceful secession.
Most of them quoted Jefferson from the
Declaration saying that governments derive their
just powers from the consent of the governed, and
when that consent is withdrawn it is the peoples'
duty to abolish that government and form a new one.
Lincoln thus destroyed the voluntary union of the
founding fathers and replaced it with a
Soviet-style coerced union held together with the
threat of total war waged on the civilian
population of any state in the future that
attempted to make Jefferson's argument and act on
it. It is telling that on the eve of the Civil
War several federal laws were proposed to outlaw
secession. This occurred because everyone at the
time understood that secession was perfectly legal and constitutional.
Might does NOT make right, so yes, secession is a
right that the people of any free society should have.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet helping to create an
upsurge of freedom-consciousness among the US electorate?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Yes, without a doubt. That's
why some of the most obnoxious and tyrannical of
our politicians, like Obama, Lieberman, McCain
and Schumer, seem to be constantly conniving to
somehow censor or shut down the internet "for national security reasons."
Daily Bell: How many real "nations" does the US encompass?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Time will tell. Jefferson
believed there were at least seven or eight
regions that could be created as independent
American nations during his time, and he wrote
that he would wish them all well as they would
all be, as Americans, "our children."
Daily Bell: What about Europe? Will it also see a
fracturing of the euro and perhaps of the EU itself?
Thomas DiLorenzo: I think we are seeing the
collapse of the EU and the Euro along with the
European welfare state. We should all pray that
it happens a thousand times faster.
Daily Bell: How about China?
Thomas DiLorenzo: China is now more capitalist
than the US and its government is less tyrannical
than the government in Washington, DC.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet helping to cause these "devolutions"?
Thomas DiLorenzo: When the AFL-CIO conspired with
the Catholic Church in Poland to subvert
communism they smuggled fax machines into the
country so that the anti-communists could plot
and communicate. The internet makes all of this
infinitely easier to accomplish.
Daily Bell: Is the 21st century more hopeful than
the 20th and 19th when it comes to large-scale
wars and manipulation of various electorates in the West and elsewhere?
Thomas DiLorenzo: One virtue of the 19th century
was that the public school brainwashing
bureaucracy was not yet very well developed. It
certainly is today, which is why America has
become such a nation of statist sheep.
Daily Bell: Is the current system of Fiat Money
Power on the way out? If so, what will take its place?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Yes. That's what all the
economic turmoil in Europe is about. I'd like to
see a return to a gold standard. This will have
to happen if we are to avoid worldwide economic
collapse similar to the Great Depression.
Daily Bell: How does the Lincoln mythology play
out today in light of all these circumstances?
Thomas DiLorenzo: It is still the ideological
cornerstone of American statism, but we are making progress.
Daily Bell: Will the US revert to a freer, more self-sufficient model?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Only if peaceful secession is allowed to occur.
Daily Bell: Is the pre-Civil War US model a
template for a more viable society in the future?
Thomas DiLorenzo: Minus slavery, of course. The
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union
were far superior to the Constitution that
replaced them (and which omitted the world "perpetual").
Daily Bell: Can we ever go back? Is history linear or cyclical?
Thomas DiLorenzo: I don't believe in such
determinism. We can correct mistakes. We DID
deregulate oil and transportation in the 1980s;
socialism DID collapse worldwide in the late
'80s/early '90s and was replaced by more market-oriented regimes.
Daily Bell: Any other comments or predictions?
Thomas DiLorenzo: The Republican Party will
continue to become more and more irrelevant and
powerless; the Democratic Party establishment
will finally strip off their masks and reveal
themselves as the totalitarian socialists that
they have always been; and the political future
will belong to the young Ron Paulians.
Daily Bell: Thanks for your time once again.
Daily Bell After Thoughts
Thomas DiLorenzo got a little irritated with us
because we harped on the Jesuit issue (see
interview). But we did so because a malicious
minority of what we can only call Neo-Nazi
"social" and "mutual creditors" have attacked him
for being influenced by the Jesuit educational
establishment for which he works.
Money is power and those who challenge the status
quo are dangerous to the internationalist
impulse. Thus, globalists claim DiLorenzo has
attacked Lincoln because he wanted to undermine
Lincoln's use of government Greenbacks as effective money.
Money is a complex system. It is not
mathematically reducible. Only the free-market
itself, the Invisible Hand, can organize money
within the context of the complex relationships
that exist in a modern society (though admittedly
such relationships could and should be simplified).
But according to some, only the state, properly
guided by responsible politicians, can provide
the money society needs. DiLorenzo has also been
attacked by this socialist faction because he
named Lincoln for what he was: the father of US Empire.
Before Lincoln, it was common belief that any
state could secede from the Union. After Lincoln,
it was clear no state could secede without facing
military action. That situation continues today.
DiLorenzo is a consequential writer. He has
advanced our understanding of who Lincoln really
was and where American exceptionalism took a
wrong turn. The attacks of his critics
notwithstanding, he is an original and courageous
historian, and we look forward to reading more of his work.
Reprinted with permission from
<http://www.thedailybell.com>The Daily Bell<http://www.howtovanish.com>.
June 3, 2013
Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media
commentator and entrepreneur focused on
developing projects that promote the general
advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He
is the chief editor of the popular free-market
oriented news site,
Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation
for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking a
non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His
most popular book,
Alert, is now in its third edition and available
in several languages. Other notable books written
by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead
(2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).
Copyright © 2013 <http://www.thedailybell.com>The Daily Bell
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